Thoughtfulness always counts

Many spend their time at a networking event working the room, making meaningful connections with those around them, receiving and handing out business cards. As the event winds down, businesspeople go their separate ways, looking forward to their next event to grow their network.

It’s a nice story, but it really only covers part of your responsibility as a networker. Thoughtful, heartfelt follow up after events continues establishing those connections and makes your networking stronger. Your connections don’t have to be your best friends, but it certainly helps if they think you’re a caring person.

For those wondering, “Am I a thoughtful networker?” here is a quick checklist of three ways to be thoughtful. If you don’t already, try implementing these into your networking route.

 

handwritingSend handwritten cards

Thank you, happy birthday, condolences. There are plenty of excuses to bust out the stationary and send a handwritten card to a colleague or peer instead of an email. What makes this thoughtful? This effort involved. Emails are simple – you sat at your computer, typed a quick message, scanned it for typos and made necessary connections, and hit send. Done. Handwriting a card requires thinking through your message before you write it, and requires your attention to prevent errors. Not only that, but sending requires more than a click of a button.

 

Remember to follow up

Did you close your conversation with someone by saying, “Let me ask so-and-so about that and get back to you”? If you did, actually do it! You might forget that you promised to find out some trivial piece of information for them, but they certainly didn’t. Nothing could be more embarrassing for you than being called out for having forgotten to follow up on something you’d given your word that you would. As networkers, one of our greatest assets is our word – don’t let something as minor as a memory lapse steal yours.

 

Schedule time outside regular networking events to get to know them

This may seem like Networking 101, but it seems to be a frequently forgotten step of networking. Not only is it vital in helping you get to know your business connections (and vice versa), many will be flattered that you are interested in getting to know them better. Not only is this step thoughtful, it is critical if you want your connections to truly help you grow your business. People love to talk about themselves, and the more you learn about the new members of your network, the more they’ll want to know about you in turn.

What does thoughtfulness in networking mean to you? How many of the above steps do you do? What do you think is missing from this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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4 thoughts on “Thoughtfulness always counts

  1. Thank you Dr. Ivan, Amazing Article!!

    What could be added is to help someone before asking for the same, even if the person may not be able to help you in return.

  2. I agree. If you mention a connection or possible referral to someone you meet at an event, definitely follow-up as soon as possible. It adds to your visibility, and surely your credibility value increases (especially because this is a stranger you’ve just met). Also, I would not just email the person, I’d call them too. Even mailing out the information by “snail mail” could be advantageous. I’ve had difficulty in following up with a personal “coffee meeting” after an event, but I keep trying! Mostly, my follow up is to find out more about the person and their business, and how to listen for a good referral for THEM. Often, they’re unfamiliar with BNI, so that’s an added educational sharing (again, without any expectation of reciprocity.)

  3. I have mentioned to others your article about 24/7/30 and this is very much in line with that. Thank you, Dr. Misner! You may never see the affect your thoughtfulness has on someone, but as in life, and caring for someone, it does make a difference. I believe it really does.

  4. I used to send hand written post cards thanking people for taking the time out of their day to meet with me but somehow I have gotten out of the practice – thank you for reminding me of the value in it. I think we sometimes get so busy with being busy we let the really valuable practices of our business life slip into the background. I am back on it as of today!

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